Rolling out addressed the myth of the digital divide with the aid of Swan Simpson, founder and CEO of Black Moguls Magazine and Swan Simpson Media Group, in a workshop led by the media maven on Friday, Sept. 22 at the inaugural RIDE Conference in Atlanta.
A digital divide is an economic and social inequality with regard to access and use of information technologies. With statistics and studies from PEW Research to support her claim, Simpson informed workshop attendees that the digital divide is a myth.
“Here’s why I say we’ve all been bamboozled, I think, and the numbers show, the internet provides the biggest opportunity for wealth creation in the Black community in our history. Since slavery [and] beyond the Civil Rights Movement, this right now is the biggest opportunity for wealth creation that we’ve had in our community and we are just not using it,” Simpson said.
Studies show that 87 percent of African Americans have internet access and 78 percent of households with an annual income of less than $30K have internet access. The increase in broadband internet access is largely due to the policies of the Obama administration. Simpson highlighted the important role government and lawmakers will play in internet accessibility and regulation in the near future.
“The reality is where we are going to hurt in regard to access to the internet is whether the government and Congress decide to regulate the internet. We’re going to be the ones voting for that but not knowing we are voting for that because some politician is going to tell you ‘those people over at Google need to be controlled, those people at Microsoft need to be controlled, the internet needs to be controlled,’ ” Simpson said.
Simpson predicts that policymakers will begin to employ scare tactics and fear to convince Americans that the internet should be regulated. Americans can protect their internet freedoms through political action and by leveraging the current digital climate. Utilizing the internet to start businesses that will solve problems is vital to debunking the myth of the digital divide and exercising our internet freedoms.